28.04.2011 - ODG

Romania’s President Urges Director-General for Greater Cultural Recognition of South-East Europe

© Sova Liviu - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova meets with President Traian Bặsescu of Romania at Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest on 27 April 2011

Romanian president Traian Bặsescu urged Director-General Irina Bokova, as the first Eastern European national to head UNESCO, to promote initiatives that showcase the region’s cultural influence, during a meeting at Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest on 27 April 2011.

“We are convinced that our region is not valued and recognized as it should be for our contribution to European culture, to world heritage and civilization,” said President Bặsescu. “We still have far to go compared to other countries from Europe,” he said, adding that “the only solution in our globalized world is to preserve our identity.”

“I want to show the best of what we have in the region,” said Ms Bokova, affirming her resolve to work jointly with countries in the region and inviting Romania to submit more proposals for the World Heritage List. “My ambition is to see UNESCO more involved in the region, from the standpoint of culture, but also of biodiversity and promoting further regional cooperation.” She also drew attention to the Summit of Heads of State of South East Europe, to be held in Belgrade in September.

The Director-General also met with Vice Prime-Minister Marko Béla, who highlighted the importance of culture and heritage preservation in the face of globalization.

In a separate meeting, Mr Daniel Funeriu, Minister of Education, Research, Youth and Sports, drew the Director-General’s attention to the new Education Law passed in February that “aims to modernize the system, promote inclusion and excellence.” He underscored the importance of higher education and knowledge-sharing in an increasingly multipolar world, and noted that improving educational opportunities for Roma children was a government priority.

Ms Bokova praised the country’s “important educational efforts,” noting that improving quality was a concern everywhere and commending Romania’s emphasis on higher education. “We know you have played an important role in this area and can contribute to the global reflection on the future of higher education.”

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